Landlord fined thousands for 13,000 tonne fly-tip

The bales of Blakeley's waste dumped in Oswaldtwistle
The bales of Blakeley's waste dumped in Oswaldtwistle

A man who let a firm dump 13,000 tonnes of stinking waste on his land has been hit in the pocket to the tune of £47,000.

Appearing at Burnley Crown Court, Arthur Morgan pleaded guilty to letting hundreds of bales of mixed rubbish be tipped on a former chemical factory site in the Lancashire town of Oswaldtwistle.

The foul-smelling mess was left there by Abram firm Blakeley’s Waste Management which, together with its former boss Stephen Blakeley, were hit with fines and costs of £37,500 last November.

Blakeley’s had admitted its part in the operation and was spared a far heftier financial penalty by spending £300,000 clearing up the eyesore.

The Environment Agency had become involved after locals complained about the stench and fly infestation coming from the bales. Blakeley’s said it had dumped the waste there because it had run out of space at its Wigan site after a new recycling machine did not arrive.

Morgan also pleaded guilty to allowing contaminated mixed demolition type waste to be tipped on a site in Seaforth, Liverpool. He had promised to buy the land but, after the waste was tipped, backed out of the purchase.

For the two offences Morgan was fined £17,500, and ordered to pay a contribution of £30,000 towards agency costs.

Judge Beverley Lunt said Morgan had put making money above protecting the environment and protecting people. The offences had caused real problems for locals who were inundated with flies.

The costs of clear-up at the Seaforth site will be considerable and these cost will have to be met by someone if the site is ever to be brought back into use.

The judge also noted that the defendant, in his mitigation, had sought to mislead the court by saying that he’d contributed £25,000 to charity.

The judge had asked for further inquiries to be made and these showed that he’d not paid a penny to the cause mentioned. EA environment manager Steve Molyneux said: “The people of Oswaldtwistle really suffered the impacts of these offenders, and we are pleased for the community that this serious offence has been successfully prosecuted.

“This case shows that the agency will not hesitate to take tough action against criminals with no regard for people and the environment.

“The case should serve as a deterrent to others thinking about committing such crimes. Waste crime causes environmental damage and undermine legitimate business. It is a blight on local communities.”